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An address delivered at the commemorative exercises 

when the monument was unveiled 

September 25th, 1913 



His Great-Great-Grandnephew 

Samuel Davidson 


His Great-Great-Grandnephew 

<ly4n address delivered at the commemorative ex- 
ercises when the monument v(ras unveiled, 
September 25th, 1913 




In August, 19 1 3, some relatives of Samuel David- 
son erected at his grave on the mountain a stone bear- 
ing the inscription, "Here Lies Samuel Davidson, First 
White Settler of Western North Carolina, Killed Here 
By The Cherokees, 1784." On the morning of Sep- 
tember 25th, 1913, this monument was unveiled with 
commemorative ceremonies. Honorable Theodore F. 
Davidson, great-grand-nephew of Samuel Davidson, 
presided at the meeting, and F. A. Sondley, LL. D., 
great-great-grand-nephew of Samuel Davidson, deliv- 
ered the address. This address follows hereafter. 

Clan Chattan is a celebrated confederation of 
clans, or confederated clan, of the Scottish Highlands, 
founded in the reign of David I of Scotland, commonly 
called Saint David, (i 124- 11 53), and is composed of 
the clans or septs of Macintosh, MacPherson, Mac- 
Bean, MacDuff, MacGillivray, MacQueen, MacDhai 
(or Davidson), Shaw, Farquharson and five others. 
Its emblem is the boxwood and, later adopted, also the 
red whortleberry, and its battle-cry is "Creag dhubh 
chloinn ChatJiin" (The black craig of Clan Chattan). 
In several editions of the Waverley Novels a cut of its 
coat of arms is placed at the head of the preface to 
The Fair Maid of Perth. This coat of arms bears the 
motto of the clan, "Touch not the cat but a glove," and 
two cats rampant. Every of the confederated septs has 

its own tartan. That of the Davidsons may be found 
in "The Scottish Clans and Their Tartans." Clan 
Chattan derived its name from that of its founder and 
first chief, Gillecattan Mohr (Gillecattan the Great). 
Gillecattan is a GaeHc name signifying "Follower of 
Saint Cattan," a once popular Scottish saint. Cattan 
means a little cat or a kitten. It is manifest that the 
coat of arms of the clan, as well as its motto, has ref- 
erence to the signification of the name of the confed- 
eration, Clan Chattan. 

Daniel Smith, who is referred to in the following 
address, was the particular friend and hunting com- 
panion of Samuel Davidson. He married Mary David- 
son, daughter of Samuel Davidson's brother Colonel 
William Davidson; and it is said, (how correctly can- 
not now be known), that the wife of Samuel Davidson 
was a sister of Daniel Smith. Prominent among the 
men who came over the mountains to avenge the death 
of Samuel Davidson, as mentioned in the address, 
which follows, was this Daniel Smith. He became 
Colonel Daniel Smith and was one of the first emi- 
grants to Western North Carolina. His residence 
stood on the hillside immediately east of the railroad 
and directly north of the first small branch which runs 
into the French Broad River above the Passenger Sta- 
tion of the Southern Railway at Asheville, North Car- 
olina. The site of his home is now within the cor- 
porate limits of the City of Asheville. Here, on June 
14th, 1787, was born his son James M. Smith, the first 
white child born in North Carolina west of the Blue 


Ridge. Colonel Daniel Smith died at this place, and 
was buried, with military honors, on a hill on his farm 
at the spot where Fernihurst now is, overlooking the 
French Broad and Swannanoa rivers and their junc- 
tion. In 1875 his remains were removed to the bury- 
ing ground at Newton Academy, just south of Ashe- 
ville, where they now rest. His tombstone bears the 
following inscription: 

"In memory 
of Col. Daniel Smith: 
who departed this life 
on the 17th May 1824 
Aged 67. 
"A native of New Jersey, 
an industrious citizen, 
an honest man, 
and a brave soldier. 
The soil which inurns his ashes 
is part of the heritage 
wrested by his valour 
for his children and his country 
from a ruthless and savage foe." 

In later life Colonel Smith was almost daily seen 
on the streets of Asheville mounted on his large white 
horse. His hatred of the Cherokees never abated. At 
the unveiling of this monument at the grave of Samuel 
Davidson, Colonel Daniel Smith's old gun, carried by 
him throughout the greater part of his life and used by 
him in the attack on the Indians near the mouth of 
Christian Creek, which followed the murder of Sam- 
uel Davidson and is mentioned in the address, was 
present, having been loaned for the occasion by his 

grand-daughter, Mrs. Jane C. Spears. It was known 
as "Long Tom," and many a Cherokee met his death 
from its fiery discharge. This gun is as a smooth bore, 
or musket, with flint lock and rifle sights, the bore being 
a Httle larger than that of an ordinary fowling piece. 
The length of the weapon is six feet, and that of the 
barrel alone is fifty-six inches; while the stock, smaller 
than usual at the butt, extends underneath the barrel 
clear to the muzzle. "Long Tom" was capable of car- 
rying a large ball or several shot, and was a most 
formidable engine of destruction. 

Samuel Davidson's daughter, whose escape with 
her mother at the time when her father was killed was 
almost miraculous, bore the name of Ruth. She 
reached womanhood and married ; and many of her 
descendants are now living in different parts of the 

F. A. S. 

Since the address by Dr. Sondley, and his note of 
introduction were sent to the printer, I received from 
Hon. J. L. C. Bird, of Marion, N. C, a most interest- 
ing letter, from which I make extracts and 
have them printed with this paper. The facts stated 
by Mr. Bird — who is related to the Samuel Davidson 
branch of that family — are not only most interesting 
to all who have interest in the early history of Western 
North Carolina, but invaluable to the descendants of 
Samuel Davidson, the subject of Dr. Sondley's address. 

I have no doubt that Ruth, the daughter of Samuel, 

was reared in the home of her uncle, Maj. William 
Davidson, who resided at that time on his plantation 
known as "The Glades," between Old Fort and Pleas- 
ant Gardens. He and Samuel were twin brothers. I 
heard years ago from an aged relative this tradition. 
William had a daughter also named Ruth, who married 
Joshua Williams and emigrated to Middle Tennessee, 
near Columbia, where she died, leaving numerous des- 

Thomas O. Morris, Esq., of Obion, Tenn., a prom- 
inent lawyer and citizen, is a direct lineal descendant 
of Samuel Davidson. 


Asheville, N. C, Oct. lo, 1913. 

October 9th, 19 13. 
Hon. Theodore F. Davidson, 

Asheville, North Carolina. 
My Dear General: — 

Your estemed favor of the 8th inst. has been re- 
ceived, and contents carefully considered. 

When the monument was unveiled to Samuel Da- 
vidson, on September 25th, I was engaged in our 
court and could not get away. I regretted very much 
not being able to be present. 

(i) I do not know the date of the death of Sam- 
uel Davidson. Before he moved to Buncombe county, 
he lived on the plantation where I was born, and my 
great-grandfather bought it from him. He also bought 
another place, adjoining from John Davidson. John 


Davidson, who married Mary Brevard, was murdered, 
with his wife and children, on this farm. See Wheel- 
er's North Carolina Sketches, at page 238. I have seen 
the old house where they lived, or one built on the same 
spot, and know where the graves are located, some 
seventy-five yards from where they were killed. I do 
not know what relation this John Davidson was to 
Samuel Davidson. There was another Davidson, 
whose name I never heard, who lived two miles lower 
down on the river Catawba, and I have always heard 
that Ruth Davidson, after the death of her father, lived 
with this man, and was married from his house. 

(2) I do not know of, nor did I ever hear of any 
other children of Samuel Davidson, except Ruth. 
When I was quite a boy, I have heard an old, old negro 
woman, who belonged to my grandfather talk about 
the Indians killing this John Davidson family, and 
Samuel Davidson across the mountains, but I did not 
remember the given name of Samuel. I have also 
heard that the mother brought her child through the 
woods back to civilization. 

(3) When Ruth Davidson was born, or when she 
married, I do not know. She died in 1826. She was 
married to James Wilson. James Wilson was a son 
of Thomas Wilson, who came to this county in 1769 
from Fermanaugh county, Ireland, with his wife and 
seven sons. This Thomas Wilson married the sister 
of Col. John Carson, and Col. Carson came over with 
his brother-in-law. This man, Thomas Wilson, is the 
same "Read-headed Irishman," who Draper, in 
King's Mountain and its Heroes, says sold his cattle to 

. 8 

Col. Tarlton, when on his raid through this part of the 
county, and took a draft on the EngHsh Government. 
The draft was never paid, and I am of the opinion that 
it is in the possession of Miss Ethel Page, of Nashville, 
Tennessee, a descendant of old man Wilson. Two of 
the sons of this Thomas Wilson, Thomas and William, 
were the first representatives from Burke county in 
the Legislature. James Wilson married Ruth David- 
son; he moved to near Brentwood, Tennessee, about 
1790, but whether he was married when he left the 
State, I do not know. He died in 1838. 

(a) Joseph McDowell Carson, the oldest son of 
Col. John Carson and wife, Rachel McDowell, a 
daughter of Hunting John McDowell and a sister of 
Col. Joseph McDowell, married Rebecca Wilson, a 
daughter of James Wilson and Ruth Davidson. Mrs, 
Frank Coxe is a great-grand daughter of Ruth Wilson, 
and Col. Ralph Carson a great-grandson. Besides, 
there are a number of others. 

(b) Charles Carson, the second son of Col. John 
Carson, married Margaret Wilson, a daughter of Ruth 
Davidson Wilson. I do not know anything about their 
descendants, as they moved to Tennessee soon after 
marriage, or rather, they were married in Tennessee. 

(c) Samuel P. Carson, the oldest son of Col. John 
Carson, by his second marriage (his wife being Mary 
Moffett, the widow of Col. Joseph McDowell), on 
May loth, 183 1, married Katherine Wilson, a daugh- 
ter of James Wilson and Ruth Davidson. They had 
only one child, Rebecca, who married Dr. J. McD. 
Whitson, who moved to Talledega, Alabama. Their 

son, Charles Carson Whitson, was a very distinguished 
lawyer, and who died only a year or two ago. After 
the death of Samuel P. Carson, his widow, Katherine, 
married William M. Carson, another son of Col. John 
Carson, by his second wife. She had two children by 
this union, Katherine, who married John P. Gorman, 
and Geo. S. Carson^ who died in 1887. Mrs. John H. 
Gorman, of Salisbury, a daughter of Mrs. Katherine 
Gorman, is a woman of great beauty. 

(d) James Wilson and Ruth Davidson had other 
children, and their descendants live in Tennessee, 
Texas and other Western states. Col. James Wilson, 
one of them, married the sister of Gen. Zollicoffer, 
and she lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Col. Wm. M, 
Wilson, another, was the wealthiest man, and its most 
progressive citizen, of Obion, Tennessee. He died 
only a few months ago. There are many more, but 
my time is limited this morning, and I can not run 
through the mass of letters and other material, so as 
to give you all of the information. They are in almost 
every walk of life, and a number of them have been 

Miss Mattie Brunson, of Florence, South Carolina, 
a great-great-grand daughter of Ruth Davidson, from 
whom I obtained a considerable amount of my infor- 
mation, and who has taken a great interest in the his- 
tory of her ancestors, knows more than any person I 
know of. 

Your friend, 

J. L. C. BIRD. 



My Fellow Mountaineers: 

At the close of the Revolutionary War the terri- 
tory which now comprises North Carolina west of the 
Blue Ridge was claimed by the Cherokees as tribal 
hunting grounds. Other Indians, and sometimes even 
white men hunted occasionally within these confines 
without arousing violent antagonism on the part of the 
Cherokees. The latter seemed usually to regard such 
acts as harmless trespasses, to be overlooked under or- 
dinary circumstancs. A settlement on the land they 
viewed in quite another light. It was a serious matter, 
and called for prompt resistance and extreme action. 
When the white settler came he came to stay and others 
followed him. His personal habits and methods of 
maintenance had been modified by his surroundings 
and assimilated to those of the native red man. But 
his passion for individual ownership of the soil, inher- 
ited from his European forefathers and permeating his 
being and dominating his existence, he held, with vital 
tenacity, as the fundamental principle of his character. 
Such men soon destroyed the game in their vicinity, 
and at once appropriated large portions of the country. 
Then the Indian was compelled to retire. His occupa- 
tion, pastime, comfort and subsistence were all depend- 
ent upon an abundance of wild animals. Hunting was 
to him at once business, support, education and recre- 
ation. Without game he had nothing to live for and no 
means of livelihood. A neighborhood of whites meant 
his early expulsion. He had come to realize this from 
repeated and disastrous experiences. 

There were no Indian towns in this region east of 


the Tuckaseigee river. The home of the Cherokee was 
in the lowlands. But every year, during the hunting 
period, small parties of Cherokees scattered over this 
extensive area and built their camps near convenient 
trails, in the proximity of springs and small streams, 
on low parts of dry ridges, where game abounded. 
Here they remained for months at a time, collecting 
supplies of meat for their needs until the next hunting 
season and of skins with which to clothe themselves 
and purchase from white traders knives, hatchets, axes, 
guns, traps, ammunition and other useful articles for 
their own wants and trinkets and ornaments for their 
women. When this had been accomplished, they re- 
turned to their homes and were honored in proportion 
to their success. Thus, to them everything centred 
about their hunting grounds ; and pleasure, honor, and 
even life itself depended on preserving these from ap- 
propriation by the ever aggressive whites. 

To these whites the matter was different. Even 
such of them as lived by hunting preferred to reside 
near the fields of their labors. Land on which the 
white men dwelt must be his exclusively. The Indian 
must keep off, even if he had camped and hunted there 
from the days of his boyhood. Surveyors had hacked 
line-marks upon the trees, and these he must not pass. 

In times which preceded the war, the Cherokees 
were often friends of the French, who encouraged 
them to commit depredations upon the settlers and 
persuaded them that the intention of the latter was to 
drive them from the home of their fathers and the 
scenes of their childhood. Throughout the war the 
Cherokees had been allies of the British and unrelent- 
ing and cruel adversaries of the white Americans. 
With the Indian hostility is hereditary. His father's 
enemy is his enemy. War on such an enemy is a duty. 
Peace with him is dishonor. White boys and Cherokee 


boys had grown up on adjoining territories, schooled in 
mutual suspicion, hatred and contempt. Cherished 
grievances were to be avenged by each on the other. 
Each had genuine wrongs to be redressed, and neither 
comprehended redress not achieved through violence. 

The war was now over. But the hatreds which it 
had engendered and the injuries which it had inflicted 
were not to be forgotten at the bidding of diplomatists 
nor obscured in the stipulations of treaties. To the 
white man an Indian was still a treacherous and mur- 
derous savage. To the Indian a white man was still a 
cunning and uncompromising robber. To each the 
wrongs of centuries were crying for revenge. 

The Cherokee still deemed the limits of white en- 
croachment those established by authority in the days 
of British rule. The settler regarded these lines as 
something determined by his foes among themselves — 
by the British and these Cherokees, who but a short 
time thereafter had united in the long and bloody war 
against his people and himself. As results of agree- 
ments between his allied enemies, he could not under- 
stand how such restrictions could be, in any way, more 
binding upon him than the British laws which he had 
repudiated or the foreign domination which he had dis- 

These limits had been supposed to lie along the crest 
of the Blue Ridge. White settlements had long ago 
reached the eastern foot of the mountains when further 
extension thereof was prohibited by the laws in force 
when the war began. But these were a part of the 
laws which the settlers had rejected as having been 
enacted without their consent and as being injurious 
and tyrannous to them — laws their freedom from 
which they had secured in the long struggle just ended 
— laws which the Cherokees had combined with the 
British in an unavailing effort to fasten on them. It is 


not at all strange that, under these circumstances, the 
backwoodsmen esteemed themselves absolved from all 
compacts entered into by the royal authorities and 
free to do what those authorities themselves had not 
hesitated to practise when they, from time to time, 
took from the Indians, whenever they could, all the 
land available for their purposes. 

Among those who, before the war, had settled upon 
the Catawba frontier at the foot of the Blue Ridge 
were members of the family of Davidson. They had 
no reason to reverence British laws and treaties. 
These had oppressed them in Europe and America and, 
with frequent wrongs, had dogged their steps from 
Ireland to North Carolina. All of them had sided 
with the Americans in asserting independence of these; 
and in the war which ensued none had fought more 
bravely or suffered more severely than they. One of 
their number had given his life at Cowan's Ford in 
opposing the advance of a British army designed to 
subjugate North Carolina and other Southern states, 
and others had endured greatest hardships in resist- 
ing, without intermission, throughout that entire con- 
test, aggressions of British troops. 

Nor had that family reason to regard the Cherokees 
with favor. Living on the advance outskirts of white 
occupation, they had been exposed, for many years, to 
the incursions and depredations of these savages ; and, 
during all that time, had protected their lives and 
property by quick recourse to their ever ready rifles. 
Only about eight years before, one of their number 
had been massacred with his family on his own prem- 
ises at Old Fort by these implacable barbarians, and 
others of them had been forced to flee for safety and 
leave their homes to be plundered by the invaders. 
Surely these Davidsons could not be expected to ob- 
serve the limits of country claimed by the Indians 


when these same Indians had, in a way so brutal and 
vindictive, shown their own utter disregard of those 

The Davidsons were descendants of the Highland 
Clan Davidson, a clan the date and source of whose 
origin, like those of many other clans of the Highlands 
of Scotland, are somewhat uncertain. The termination 
of the name in the word "son," seems to point to a 
Scandinavian ancestry. Such, in part at least, is most 
probably the fact; for in the early days of the Middle 
Ages the relations betyeen the Norse and the inhabi- 
tants of Scotland were very close. Extensive settle- 
ments of the Northmen were made at that time on the 
main land and islands of Scotland and intermarriages 
between the two peoples were not uncommon in that 

The Davidsons — sons of a David (a Hebrew name 
meaning Beloved) — were usually known among their 
neighbors in Scotland by the Gaelic equivalent of Mac- 
Dhais. In speaking of the Macintoshes, an author on 
Highland history says : 

"The old genealogy (of 1450) makes them descend 
from two brothers Muirach Mohr and Dhai Dhu, sons 
of Gillecattan Mohr, chief of the Confederation (Clan 
Chattan). MacPherson of Cluny as the lineal repre- 
sentative is chief of Muirach Mohr and is chief of 
Clan Mhuirach, or MacPherson, says a writer in the 
'Scottish Journal of Antiquities :' Dhai Dhu, brother of 
Muirach Mohr and second son of Gillecattan, left is- 
sue who are represented by Davidson of Ivernahaven. 
The descendants of Dhai Dhu are called Clan Dhai or 
Davidsons. They are the Clan Kay of Sir Walter 
Scott and Inch of Perth celebrity (1396). The des- 
cendants of Muirach Mohr are called the Clan Muirach 
or MacPhersons."* 

*The Scottish Clans and Their Tartans, 53. 


The famous battle between these two kindred tribes, 
fought on the North Inch of Perth in the latter part 
of the fourteenth century by representative warriors 
chosen from each, is familiar to all readers of Sir 
Walter Scott's novel The Fair Maid of Perth and to 
all students of Scotch history. 

Dhai Dhu means Black David, or David the 
Swarthy. And it is from this Black David, son of 
Gillecattan Mohr, or Gillecattan the Great, founder and 
chief of the Highland confederation Clan Chattan, 
that the Davidsons derive both their lineage and their 

Many of the Davidsons emigrated to northern Ire- 
land in the time of King James I. of Great Britain ; but 
in the days of William and Mary oppressive legisla- 
tion of the British Parliament, intended to destroy 
their business, drove numerous descendants of these 
emigrants to seek new homes in America. Some es- 
tablished themselves in southern Pennsylvania on the 
Maryland border. But ill fate pursued them there. 
The government of the Pennsylvania province was then 
in the hands of selfish, money-loving, puritanical 
Quakers, who sought to thrive at the expense of neigh- 
bors the prosperity of whom they envied. Over por- 
tions of that province and adjoining districts roamed 
bands of hostile aborigines. These proved most 
troublesome to the new-comers from Ireland residing 
on the frontiers and committed many robberies and 
murders among them. Such outrages became intoler- 
able. The Quakers, who inhabited the interior, and, 
because of their secure position, enjoyed immunity 
from the irruptions against which their more exposed 
neighbors afforded them protection, posed as the 
friends of the Indians, and not only refused to allow 
the assistance of the colonial government to be ex- 


tended to the newcomers when they earnestly peti- 
tioned for it, but even visited on the petitioners the 
denunciation and persecution of that government when 
they protected themselves and their ungrateful Quaker 
oppressors at the same time from these marauders and 
murderers. Disgusted with such hypocrisy and injus- 
tice on the part of those who should have been their 
friends and associates, numbers of these Irish emi- 
grants left this "land of brotherly love" ( !), to which 
they had been seductively invited, and settled at last in 
North Carolina and South Carolina. The tide of emi- 
gration to the South carried on its waves not a few of 
these Davidsons. Many of them took up their abodes 
on Catawba river in North Carolina and soon were to 
be found on the extreme verge of the Catawba settle- 

When the War of the Revolution began some of 
these Davidsons owned and were living at what after- 
wards was called Old Fort at the head of the Catawba 
river. It was here that, about 1776, the Cherokees 
killed John Davidson and his family, who were mem- 
bers of this advanced outpost community, only an ab- 
sent daughter escaping. 

When the war had ended Samuel Davidson, a 
brother of this John Davidson and a son of John 
Davidson, Senior, and a first cousin of General Wil- 
liam Davidson the hero of Cowan's Ford, in company 
with some of his adventurous friends and relatives, be- 
gan to make occasional hunting trips over the moun- 
tains, on the Swannanoa and its tributaries. Samuel 
Davidson was born in southern Pennsylvania about the 
year 1736 and came with his father to North Carolina 
in 1750. He grew up in the southern part of Iredell 
county, then in Rowan county. He was independent, 
self-reliant and fearless. 

The Cherokees had no love for these Davidsons 


and the Davidsons had no love for the Cherokees. 
They watched each other with unfriendly observation. 
A few encounters seem to have occurred between the 
Indians and these hunters. The country, however, was 
attractive, and Samuel Davidson determined to make it 
his home. This resolution appears to have found its 
inspiration in that mysterious principle of human na- 
ture which has impelled so many men to abandon the 
society of their fellows and plunge into the seclusion of 
the wilderness, a principle invoked in after years by 
one of the greatest of the poets : 

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society where none intrudes 
By the deep sea ; and music in its roar. 
I love not man the less but nature more 
From these our interviews in which I steal 
From all I may be or have been before 
To mingle with the universe and feel 
What I can ne'er express yet cannot all conceal." 

After two or three years Samuel Davidson crossed 
the Swannanoa Gap with his family, consisting of his 
wife and child, and a female negro servant, and estab- 
lished his residence on Christian Creek, a tributary of 
the Swannanoa, at the foot of the mountain which sep- 
arates the waters of that creek from the Swannanoa 
itself. Here he remained for a short while. This 
seems to have been in the fall of 1784. As was the cus- 
tom in those days, he turned his horse loose at night, 
knowing that before morning the animal would find 
food enough to maintain it throughout the next day and 
that he could easily find it when wanted. 

One morning he started at an early hour in search 
of the horse. The Indian trail leading from the Cher- 
okee towns on the Tennessee river across the French 


Broad and up the Swannanoa through Swannanoa Gap 
to Catawba and Yadkin rivers, ran along the crest of 
the ridge at the foot of which his habitation stood. It 
was the only passway through this mountain wild. In 
searching for the horse, he passed up the side of this 
mountain in the direction of this trail. Just as he 
reached the trails he was fired upon and killed by some 
Cherokees in ambush there. It is said that, in order 
to find his horse more readily, he was accustomed to 
attach a cow bell about its neck when turning it out at 
night, and that the Cherokees detached the bell or 
drove the horse up the mountain when they saw him 
set out in the quest, and that thus, by means of the 
bell, they lured him on under the supposition that he 
was following the horse, until he came to the place 
where a body of them were lying in wait to kill him. 
Unaided and alone, he braved the anger of a nation's 
warriors, and when he fell it was beneath the missiles 
of a hidden foe. 

His wife heard the shots and knew that she could 
render no assistance to him then. Taking her little girl 
with her, she and the negro woman went through the 
mountains, by dififerent ways, to Old Fort. They ar- 
rived at that place in safety, after a journey of fifteen 
or sixteen miles among the woods and rocks. Here she 
found friends and relatives of her husband and her- 

At Old Fort a party was at once organized to 
avenge the murder. They came to the place where 
Samuel Davidson had been slain. His body lay by the 
side of the path where he had fallen. They buried him 
there in a shallow grave which they briefly prepared to 
receive his remains. 

"No useless coffin enclosed his breast, 
Nor in sheet nor in shroud they wound him, 


But he lay, like a warrior, taking his rest 
With his martial cloak around him. 

"Slowly and sadly they laid him down 
From the field of his fame fresh and gory, 
They carved not a line and they raised not a stone. 
But they left him alone with his glory." 

And undisturbed for more than one hundred and 
twenty-eight years, on that lone spot in the land which 
he loved, this grave still holds the dust of him whose 
enterprise and intrepidity led to the settlement of the 
now famous Land of the Sky and justly earned for him 
the designation of The Founder of Western North 
Carolina and Buncombe's Earliest Citizen. From his 
silent seat on this elevated point, while the decades 
rolled away, the spirit of the old pioneer has kept its 
tireless vigils and watched over this land of the moun- 
tains as the tide of immigration poured in his tracks 
down the Swannanoa and over the hills and valleys 
beyond, until in that fair land the Indians have 
disappeared forever from the forests, telegraphs and 
telephones have supplanted signal smokes, the roar of 
the automobile and the shriek of the locomotive have 
replaced the howl of the wolf and the scream of the 
panther, and cities and' towns flash out their electric 
lights where his solitary camp-fires had burned in the 

"Oh a wonderful stream is the river of Time 
As it runs through the realm of tears. 
With a musical rhythm, a magical rhyme, 
A boundless sweep and a surge sublime, 
As it blends with the ocean of years!" 

That interment did not constitute the entire self- 
imposed task of the expedition. Versed in the habits 
of the Cherokees, they concluded, no doubt, that the 


assassins were a hunting party who were encamped 
not far away. About a mile further to the West they 
discovered these Indians near the mouth of Christian 
Creek and drove them into the recesses of the solitudes, 
killing some and dispersing the band. 

In that attack no piece rang out more frequently or 
sent its echoes, in deep reverberations, further up the 
ravines that did Long Tom in the hands of its owner, 
Colonel Daniel Smith, the relation and companion of 
him whose fate at that time met its retribution. And 
this is Long Tom. 

(Exhibits the gun.) 

Many and eventful have been the years that have 
come out of eternity and then sunk into eternity again 
since this old gun was at this place before and on that 
memorable day gave forth its vengeful peals in fierce 
reiteration among the glens and gorges of Rockhouse 
and Christian Creeks ! It belongs to an age that is 
gone, and it stays but to tell of the days and the events, 
the people and the customs, the trials and the triumphs 
of the long, long ago. 

After a few months had passed, other frontiersmen 
came from the Catawba near Old Fort, through the 
Swannanoa Gap, and formed a settlement around the 
mouth of Bee Tree Creek, within two or three miles of 
the locality where Samuel Davidson was buried. This 
became known in history as the "Swannanoa Settle- 
ments." It was the first colony of whites in what is 
now North Carolina West of the Blue Ridge. 

Among these colonists were a twin brother of Sam- 
uel Davidson, Colonel William Davidson, subsequently 
Buncombe's first State Senator, and a sister, Rachel 
Alexander, and their families and other relatives. 
These kinsmen looked after the sepulchre of Samuel 
Davidson as long as they lived, and when they were 
gone, William Davidson's son, Colonel Samuel W. Da- 


vidson, who was a small child when the settlement was 
founded, continued throughout his life to care for the 
last resting-place of his worthy uncle. The letters 
"S. D." were cut in a pine tree which stood at the 
head of the grave; and Samuel W. Davidson always 
kept these letters freshened, in order that they might 
not become obscured by the accretion of moss or the 
growth of the tree. Samuel W. Davidson died in 1858, 
and then the old pine tree died and rotted away. But 
other kindred took up the work and have never ceased 
to protect the grave of the founder of the Land of the 

Now we have placed at this grave a monument of 
more durable material than the pine. It may honor 
us and tell the stranger where he sleeps, but Samuel 
Davidson needs no monument while the towering peaks 
of Western North Carolina point upward to the sky 
and the Swannanoa rolls in beauty its waters toward 
the sea. His memory, like the pine, will flourish in 
perpetual verdure and, like the granite, will last while 
time endures. 

"Yon sturdy minstrel's voiceless stone 
In deathless song shall tell, 
When many a vanished year hath flown, 
The story how he fell ; 
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight, 
Nor time's remorseless doom, 
Can dim one ray of holy light 
That gilds his glorious tomb." 


OCT 24 1913 


014 417 940